How to get your research published


31 Mar 2015

The editors of Thorax and Respirology  have given delegates some sage advice on how to get research published.

Speaking to a packed breakfast session this morning Andrew Bush and Peter Eastwood set out what they think are the most important rules to follow in order to give your research the chance to see the light of day.

With Thorax only accepting 5-10% of the papers it receives its not surprising that delegates were listening to every word the editors said.

Here’s our summary of their tips for publication success:

Getting started

Are you excited about your topic? If you’re not, guaranteed no one else will be!

Choosing who to submit to:

  • Go for gold! — aim high and then work your way down.
  • Impact factor is important but the number of citations a journal gets is really important too
  • Does your paper fit the journal? (e.g NEJM doesn’t publish animal studies)
  • Tailor your paper to the style of the journal you are submitting it to. “There’s nothing more off putting than seeing a paper that’s been written in the style of another journal,” says Bush.
  • Remember journals have a regional focus

The nuts and bolts

  • Have pride in your writing skills as much as your scientific skills
  • Be concise – extra verbiage is a waste of time (and money for the journal).
  • Your abstract is your shop window — don’t pack it with information!
  • If you can, generate a hypothesis up front
  • Don’t present new data in your discussion, the results section is the place for that.
  • Keep acknowledgements as succinct as you can
  • Follow journal guidelines for references
  • Figure legends — figures need to stand on their own.
  • Limit the number of authors — only people who have contributed to the paper can be an author.
  • Association is not the same as causation!
  • All papers get put through plagiarism software so make sure you haven’t inadvertently left paragraphs in that you meant to paraphrase.
  • If you missed the primary endpoint then your trial is negative — don’t try to make them significant because it is not going to work, says Bush. “My girlfriend is slightly pregnant” just doesn’t cut it.

Getting to the review stage

  • Make it easy for the reviewer — most are doing it in their spare time!
  • Say that you appreciate the reviewers comments, even if you don’t!
  • Respond in a timely fashion, address each comment and don’t be afraid to disagree (editors do make mistakes!)
  • Use track changes to show how you’ve addressed the comments

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